Veteran Aussie rules footballer and coach Debbie Lee will take the stage at the largest horticulture conference and trade show next month to speak about attracting women to a male-dominated industry.

Ms Lee, the first-ever female inductee to the Australian Football Hall of Fame, will discuss how what she learned on the playing field can be applied to horticulture, offering unique perspectives and strategies honed through years of experience.

“She gained her experience on a different kind of field, but the lessons Debbie learned in a male-dominated sport have a lot of relevance in a male-dominated industry like horticulture,” says AUSVEG National Manager – Events and Partnerships Nathan McIntyre.

“Making horticulture a more attractive career path to women has been a recurring feature of the Hort Connections conference program, and we’re very excited to have a pioneer like Debbie headlining our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Session this year.”

Ms Lee has more than 30 years of experience in women’s football at the elite and community levels, and has been a tireless campaigner for recognition of women’s Australian rules football, and her work paved the way for the formation of the AFLW.

As well as playing 302 games for the St Albans Spurs and East Brunswick Scorpions, Ms Lee is a five-time league Helen Lambert best & fairest medallist, seven-time club champion, six-time All Australian, and has played in three premierships.

She was the president of the Victorian Women’s Football League, head of AFLW operations for the Melbourne Football Club and Western Bulldogs, and was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 2021.

The full program for Hort Connections is out now (available here), boasting a stellar lineup of local and international horticulture industry experts, regulators, researchers and more.

Alongside Debbie Lee, the program features high profile speakers such as Olympian Giaan Rooney, Independent Reviewer of the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct Dr Craig Emerson, Special Representative for Australian Agriculture at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Su McCluskey, and many more.For more information about Hort Connections and to register for the event, please visit


MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew MacDonald, National Communications Manager, AUSVEG
Phone: 03 9882 0277, Mobile: 0406 836 330, Email: